Shell Crosses Major Obstacle for Arctic Drilling

New York, February 18 (FinanceEnquiry.com) – A major obstacle has been removed from the path of Shell (NYSE: RDSA) in its march towards getting approval for new oil drilling off the North Slope of Alaska with the Interior Department tentatively approving Friday how Shell would respond if a spill in the frigid Arctic waters takes place. The approval demonstrates the Obama administration’s inclination to allow the drilling even in the face of persistent opposition of many environmentalists.

However, Shell still has to clear many other regulatory obstacles before it can get the final approval to start drilling as many as six exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea in July. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that the people of Alaska will benefit greatly from the onshore and offshore energy resources of the area, both conventional and renewable. However, a cautious approach is being taken.  

In order to explore the vast potential of natural gas resources that might lie beneath the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off the north coast of Alaska, Shell has already spent more than $4 billion over five years. During this period, there has been intense opposition from environmental groups and the natives of Alaska who are concerned that extensive oil drilling will foul the pristine seas and endanger wildlife.

Shell proposes to drill up to six wells over the next two years within the Burger prospect, about 70 miles off the coast in about 140 feet of water.

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